Detailed plan for the new CCMC

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Saturday, January 11, 2014


THE plan for the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) has finally been presented to the Cebu City Council by the CCMC ad hoc committee headed by City Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos.

The site of the new hospital won’t be at the South Road Properties (SRP) because the Department of Health supposedly frowns on such a facility being built near bodies of water like the sea.

So it’s back to the old site at the corner of Panganiban St. and Natalio Bacalso Ave.—but with a difference. Panganiban St. would be realigned to fit the design of the new facility.

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The new hospital will have 409 beds (why it’s not 410 beds or even 450 beds is beyond me) inside a five-storey building. The old CCMC had 300 beds in a three-storey structure. The cost of the new CCMC: P1 billion (instead of the previously projected P1.5 billion).

But there’s a catch there. This is a four-year project. Two things could happen because of this: one, that the cost would shoot up considering inflation, and two, that the building would end up becoming a Cebu City College instead (let’s tackle this later).

By the way, the original plan was to build a new CCMC. But trust bright minds to meander.

The cost will now include the realignment of a street, construction of a temporary building for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the CCMC College of Nursing (which will later be transformed into a medical arts building), and the construction of an integrated command center (that will house BFP, Cebu City Police Office, Citom and a satellite office of the Department of Social Welfare and Services).

As a result, the project will only be finished after four years.

A member of the ad hoc committee, Dr. Shaun Espina of the CCMC Cares Movement, said this will be a Private Public Partnership (PPP) project. His group has already raised P500,000 from medical practitioners working abroad.

Unfortunately, Espina is floating the idea that the CCMC may be transformed into a semi-private facility, noting that health services are not always free. Actually, this is the same line of thinking of some sectors, including lawmakers, that are pushing for the privatization of around 20 public hospitals in the country, including the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

Of course, it’s an elitist line that, when brought to the extreme, plays into the earlier proposal by former mayor Tomas Osmeña to sell the CCMC because it has become a burden to the city’s finances. That line glosses over the idea that health is a basic government service, too.

Which brings me to the point I raised earlier. Since this is a four-year, four-phase project, the third and fourth phases (completion of the building and the construction of the integrated command center) will run smack into the May 2016 elections.

Considering the result of the 2013 polls where Mayor Michael Rama won reelection by only a slim margin over Osmeña, who knows what will happen in 2016? Can Rama get a third term or will Osmeña be back at the helm of the city?

If the latter happens, how can we be sure that a new administration would be willing to pursue the project or carry the financial burden of completing it?

In Pardo, the second floor of the barangay’s then newly built public market ended up becoming a school extension when a new city administration took over. Who knows if the new CCMC building might yet end up becoming the campus of a once proposed Cebu City College?

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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